Adm. Giroir: Vaccine Rollout Means Pandemic End 'In Our Sight'
The news that COVID-19 vaccinations could start as early as next week means that "we can see the end" of the coronavirus pandemic, White House coronavirus testing czar Adm. Brett Giroir said Friday.
"(The end) is really in our sight, with 20 million people being able to be vaccinated in December, 30 million in January and another 50 million in February, just with the two vaccines we know about now, Pfizer and Moderna," Giroir said on Fox News' "Fox and Friends."
But he warned that there is still a great deal of work necessary before most people can be vaccinated and the pandemic ends, adding that it's important that healthcare workers be in the first groups to be vaccinated.
Health and Human Secretary Alex Azar said Friday that the Food and Drug Administration will grant emergency use authorization to Pfizer Inc.'s mRNA vaccine for COVID-19 within days and that the first Americans could be immunized as early as Monday or Tuesday. The shots are already being given in the United Kingdom.
A similar mRNA vaccine from Moderna will come under review next week and is also expected to be quickly authorized for use. Giroir said Friday the Pfizer vaccine will likely go first into healthcare settings, with Moderna's vaccine to be distributed a bit more widely.
"We are very confident that by the May-June time period that any American who wants a vaccine will (have) a vaccine available," said Giroir. "This will be extremely rapid."
The next group to be vaccinated will include vulnerable individuals, such as people who are not in a long-term care center but are elderly, said Giroir, but after that the vaccine will "rapidly roll out to the rest of the American people."
Meanwhile, Giroir said Friday that there is no evidence of a transmission risk with outdoor dining, as long as there is appropriate spacing, and added that in his opinion, restrictions should only be in place for COVID as are necessary to get through the pandemic.
"Overrestriction will cause frustration with the American people," said Giroir. "It will cause them not to obey even the good rules and it will kill jobs. Killing jobs means killing the economy and mental illness, substance use, all kinds of things."